To: Department Business Managers, Research Administrators and NRP Lists
From: Andy Johns – Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Brett Kenney, University Cash Manager, Accounting Services, Finance and Operations, David Paul – Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research, Office of Sponsored Programs, Ashwini Roy-Chaudhury – Director of Research Operations and Support, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research
As communicated in the March 13 Finance memo, the closure of the Bank of America (BoA) prepaid card program is forthcoming on June 30, 2023. This announcement provides reminders for the BoA closure including important deadlines, existing and future methods to procure gift cards for study subjects, and updates on current efforts to replace the BoA prepaid card program.
BoA Replacement Options
The University is working swiftly to implement a new prepaid card program to ensure that researchers have options available to continue their compensation of study subjects. Some of the vendors currently in consideration are Greenphire, National Gift Cards, and Tango Cards.
Coming Soon – Gift Card Procurement via University P-Cards
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) and UNC Finance and Operations (Finance) are currently working on a procedure that would allow, for a limited time, the purchase of gift cards on University Purchasing Cards (P-Cards). In the coming week, guidance will be provided to campus on how to apply for a University P-card designated to purchase gift cards for study subject incentives.
Gift Card Procurement via Cash Advance
Departments can obtain cash advance funds to purchase gift cards for study subjects. To ensure continuity of research activities, plan accordingly and submit cash advance requests with enough time for processing, considering fiscal year-end timelines.
- Advances funded on non-sponsored project sources, please follow Finance Policy 307 and Procedure 307.1 and use the forms listed there.
- Advances funded on sponsored projects, follow OSP Operating Standard and Procedure 500.14 and use the forms located on the OSP Forms and Tools webpage.
As a reminder, Departments do not immediately need to begin the reconsent process through the UNC Institutional Review Board (IRB) to allow study subjects to accept gift cards purchased using cash advances. Reconsent should be planned during protocol modifications or renewal periods.
Important Deadlines for BoA Closure
The current timeline for the BoA prepaid card program closure is as follows:
Friday, April 21
- Last day to submit Prepaid Card Requests to firstname.lastname@example.org for adding funds to existing projects in the PAT.
- Departments should only request amounts that can be reconciled before the end of the fiscal year.
Wednesday, May 31
- Last day for users in the PAT to issue remaining prepaid cards to study subjects.
- Departments should shred their inventory of unloaded prepaid cards.
- After this day, all user access will convert to reporting only in the PAT.
Friday, June 30 – BoA program terminates
- Prepaids card reconciliations must be fully completed and posted in ConnectCarolina.
- All user access and functionality to the PAT ends.
- Prepaid cards issued to study subjects continue to be valid for three years from the date of issuance.
Reminder on Reconciling Prepaid Cards
Timely reconciliations must be completed per the current prepaid card process. Additionally, all prepaid card loads must be reconciled to the appropriate expense ledger account by the end of this fiscal year (FY). The FY23 deadline for department-approved journal entries for cash advance/prepaid card reconciliations is June 23, 2023.
- To reconcile prepaid cards funded on non-sponsored project sources, use Form 307.2.3f
Departments can run InfoPorte or ledger inquiry reports to determine their cash advance balances on general ledger accounts 119200 or 559520 (prepaid cards funded on sponsored projects). Refer to the Quick Reference Guide to Finance Reports for additional information.
- For urgent or immediate needs to acquire gift cards for issuance to study subjects on approved IRB protocols, please contact OCT@unc.edu.
- For questions or assistance regarding the existing prepaid card program or the PAT, please contact email@example.com.
- For broad questions or reporting needs on cash advances, please contact Cash_Management@unc.edu.
- For specific questions on prepaid cards or cash advances funded on sponsored projects, please contact SponsoredPrograms@unc.edu.